People Who Work After Retiring Enjoy Better Health
Retirees who transition from full-time work into a temporary or part-time job experience fewer major diseases and are able to function better day-to-day than people who stop working altogether, according to a national study. And the findings were significant even after controlling for people’s physical and mental health before retirement. The study's authors refer to this transition between career and complete retirement as bridge employment, which can be a part-time job, self-employment, or a temporary job. The findings are reported in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology.
For this study, Mo Wang, PhD, of the University of Maryland, and his fellow researchers looked at the national Health and Retirement Study, which is sponsored by the National Institute on Aging. They used data from 12,189 participants who were between the ages of 51 and 61 at the beginning of the study. The participants were interviewed every two years over a six-year period beginning in 1992 about their health, finances, employment history, and work or retirement life.
The findings showed that people whose postretirement jobs were related to their previous careers reported better mental health than those who fully retired. However, these mental health improvements were not found among people who worked in jobs outside their career field postretirement. The authors say this may be because retirees who take jobs not related to their career field may need to adapt to a different work environment or job conditions and, therefore, become more stressed. Also, Wang has found retirees with financial problems are more likely to work in a different field after they officially retire.
“Rather than wanting to work in a different field, they may have to work,” says Wang. “In such situations, it’s difficult for retirees to enjoy the benefits that come with bridge employment.” The authors suggested that, when possible, retirees carefully consider their choice of postretirement employment.
— Source: American Psychological Association